ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Three games into whatever becomes of this season, it's already clear that if the Denver Broncos think more than one player can do a job, then more than one player will do the job.
"Absolutely, we will use as many players as we believe it takes," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. "Starters, backups, everybody knows we're going to make the decisions we believe will help us win. If that's rotating guys as starters, we’ll absolutely do that."
That's been particularly true on the offensive line, where the Broncos have rotated Allen Barbre and Max Garcia at left guard. Barbre and Garcia spent much of the preseason in the competition for the starting job until Joseph decided it was, in essence, a tie and that both players could offer the offense something.
At the moment, Barbre is considered more proficient in pass protection, while Garcia has been a more consistent presence in the run game. Barbre has played 123 snaps in the Broncos' first three games, while Garcia has played 110. And while there were times during training camp when Joseph said he'd like to play "the best five" to build line continuity, Joseph has now come to the conclusion that splitting time between the two players is better than playing just one of them all the time.
"I think we're satisfied with that position as both guys getting reps," Joseph said. "It's kept both guys fresh. Going forward, it will probably stay the same."
The Broncos don't want opposing defenses predicting what their offense plans to do simply by observing which guard is in the game, but ultimately it's offensive-line coach Jeff Davidson who manages the workload.
"I think we can do both with both of those guys in there, we have all the confidence they can do what we need done," Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said. "No matter who's in there we think we can make plays and produce."
"We do have be aware of how we're using people," Joseph said. "I don't think we've tipped our hand or anything. It's about the flow of the game and how the coaches want to move them in."
The same is true at running back, where Anderson has logged 153 plays in three games as the team's lead back and Jamaal Charles has played 62. The Broncos have been pleased enough -- they're No. 3 in the league in rushing -- that they have largely stuck to the two-man show, with Charles getting most of his work when the Broncos are in a three-wide receiver set.
Rookie De'Angelo Henderson has one carry -- on a fake punt against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 -- but things will get more crowded when Devontae Booker gets back in the mix after surgery in July to repair a fracture in his wrist.
"We talked about this way back when we all got together," offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. "We talked about how [running-backs coach] Eric [Studesville] does a good job of sitting down and talking to those guys. But hey, if you're dressed on game day, you're probably going to be in the backfield somehow. ... There's only one football. We have a lot of talented players. It's my job to keep them all happy."
It's much the same in the defensive front seven, where outside linebacker Shane Ray's wrist surgery has forced the Broncos to get creative. Derek Wolfe and Adam Gotsis are the only two defensive line with at least 100 snaps played in the season's early going -- Wolfe is at 146 and Gotsis is at 120 -- and it's Shaquil Barrett and not Von Miller who has played the most at linebacker.
Barrett is at 174 snaps to Miller's 165 and Brandon Marshall's 164.
"We want our best guys on the field," Joseph said. "But our plan is to play as many people as we have to to win the game and keep our guys productive over the long haul."